Google defends app store, fighting Epic Games’ bid for major reforms

Google has vehemently opposed proposed changes to its app store, Google Play, set forth by Epic Games in their ongoing antitrust battle. The tech giant’s stance was laid out in a filing submitted late on Thursday in San Francisco federal court, where Epic had previously convinced a jury that Google had unlawfully hindered competition by controlling app downloads on Android devices and payment structures for in-app transactions.

According to Google’s filing, Epic’s proposed changes would severely handicap Google’s ability to compete in the app market. Epic had requested U.S. District Judge James Donato in San Francisco to mandate Google to simplify app downloads from alternate sources and grant developers more freedom in offering and pricing purchases. Additionally, Epic sought permission to introduce its Epic Games Store to Android without encountering delays or obstacles.

The scheduled hearing on the proposed injunction is slated for May 23, and Epic is yet to respond to Google’s latest filing. Wilson White, Google’s head of government affairs and public policy, contended that Epic’s demands would negatively impact consumer privacy, security, and overall user experience.

Google argued in its filing that Epic’s injunction bid was rendered unnecessary due to a related Play store settlement with states and consumers. The terms of the settlement, Google stated, adequately addressed the alleged anticompetitive practices highlighted by Epic during the trial. In December, Google agreed to a $700 million settlement to resolve the states’ case, promising various reforms including facilitating alternative billing options for in-app purchases.

In a separate but equally significant antitrust case, Google faced off against the Justice Department and a consortium of states in a Washington, D.C. courtroom over allegations of monopolizing the mobile web search market. This case, which concluded with closing trial arguments, represents yet another legal challenge to Google’s dominance in the digital sphere.

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